Members from churches in Salem honored the meaning of Good Friday by walking around the southern portion of town in the shape of a cross while carrying a large wooden cross.
The group stopped at 12 places, including bars and businesses, for prayer and reflection. The pastor of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church hosted the walk and said parts of the city are hurting and in need of prayer..
He said in the couple of years since he started holding the walk, the crowd continues to grow year after year.
“What the cross walk does is different for each person, but as we make each stop, as we read Scripture, as we contemplate the passion of Jesus, I hope that it touches people in faith in a way that they have not been touched before,” said Pastor Alan Smearsoll, Emannuel Lutheran Church in Salem.
Smearsoll also said he brought the idea from congregations he previously served.
Ken Woerther is a lifelong Salem resident, and was one of the participants in Friday’s walk. He has participated every year.
“We really take our religion seriously,” he said. “It’s a very meaningful, very good way to live your religion instead of just talking about it.”
Problems like drugs, disorder, and shootings were on the minds of the participants.
“It’s been in the news lately with several problems and I thought that it could call attention to that and that we could pray for these areas,” Smearsoll said.
“It helps me connect the life of Jesus and the death of Jesus, this walking with his cross, with the people,” said Sister MaryAnn McFadden of St. Paul Church in Salem.
And although the display doesn’t always get a favorable response, participants said it’s important to walk with the cross on Good Friday as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifices.